Statistics show there are over (1) Million Americans who have Parkinson's disease and more than 50,000 new cases diagnosed each year. The disease strikes men more often than women, with the average age of 60 when first diagnosed. Individuals who are diagnosed before the age of 40 have "young onset Parkinson's." Since the disease is progressive individuals over time lose their functional abilities. This leads to dependence on others for basic activities of daily living (ADL's). Though there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, there are many treatments that allow individuals to lead fulfilling lives for a long period of time.
Our Parkinson's Disease Program is part of the Family Caregivers Network
C.A.R.E.S. Platform...(Community Advocacy, Resource, Education, & Support).
We believe that these four areas are essential to expand the quality of care for patients and families. Family caregiving is more than just providing direct care. Caregiving needs Community Advocacy so families have a voice, Resource so all the necessary information is available to patient's & families, Education to improve the knowledge of one's disease or illness, and Support to be there and help clients and families cope with the stress of caregiving.
What is Parkinson's Disease
Living with Parkinson's disease affects the way an individual moves. It occurs when there is a problem with certain nerve cells in the brain. Normally, these nerve cells make an important chemical called dopamine. Dopamine sends signals to the part of your brain that controls movement. It lets your muscles move smoothly and do what you want them to do. When a person has Parkinson's, these nerve cells break down. With lack of dopamine, a person has trouble moving the way they want to.
- The individuals can experience tremors, stiffness, freezing of movements, slow movements, and problems with balance and falls.
- Parkinson's disease also affects a person's memory and ability to make safe decisions regarding their care. Depression and anxiety are often present.
- Over time a person has difficulty with incontinence, constipation, and trouble swallowing.
- In the later stages of Parkinson's disease a person is at risk of infections due to aspiration pneumonia.
Without a plan designed specifically to each individual with Parkinson's disease functional ability will decline faster. The individual will become dependent instead of independent.
Goals of the Family Caregivers Parkinson's Disease Care Plan:
- Individuals and families will have a better understanding of Parkinson's disease.
- Safety is improved and risk of falls and injury is reduced.
- Ones' independence is sustained for as long as possible with a better quality of life for the individual and family members.
- Through Patient Centered Care the patient will express what their goals are in their care. The team reviews the goals that are then set by the clinicians, the patient, and family.
Since an individual can live 20-30 years with Parkinson's disease it can take a financial toll on families. Our Expert Geriatric Care Manager sits with patients and families throughout the disease process to assist with financial planning and helping to locate financial resources available for one's care.